Jamaican Youth delivering Sexual and Reproductive Health Outreach

As I reach the last few months of my internship here in Jamaica I have had the opportunity to try something new. I have begun to work with the youth group associated with the Jamaica Family Planning Association.  The group was founded by Kenroy Moses, a St. Ann’s Bay youth, who saw a need for this in his community because of the large population of youth that weren’t working or in school. This group gives them a place to go and keeps them from hanging out in the street. The name of the group is 3D, it stands for Dedicated, Determined and Driven. The group is dedicated to serving the community, determined to help unattached youth stay off the street and driven to help develop these youth to be able to contribute to Jamaica in a meaningful way. I continually see these three attributes while working with these youth. The group is comprised of approximately twenty youth aged 16-24.

3D Youth GroupThis has been an incredible opportunity for me as I near the end of my internship to re-energize me. I have also been able to help train the youth so they can continue on with the projects I have been working on. One of the main tasks of my internship has been to coordinate health fairs. I have had the opportunity to travel to different areas of the country with a nurse to provide services to the underserved populations of Jamaica. These services included HIV and syphilis testing, pap smears and prostate cancer screening. The youth are currently learning about sexual health and being trained on how to interact with clients as well a few are being trained on how to do voluntary testing and counseling for HIV (VCT). The hope is that the youth will be able to participate and support the health fairs in the future.

HIV trainingThe youth recently completed their first presentation for Safer Sex Week.  They did two presentations at the St. Ann’s Bay Library one for youth and another one for adults. They shared information on how to protect yourself from Sexually transmitted infections and HIV. They also created and preformed a skit. 

Safer Sex presentation

 I am looking forward to continuing my work with this group because watching the youth ask questions, learn and grow helps with my continued growth here in Jamaica.

Shannon Gallant is working with The Centre for Nursing Studies and FAMPLAN Jamaica.